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It’s a star turn for Wetumpka as the small town along the Coosa River in Elmore County takes center stage in “Home Town Takeover,” a new HGTV show. Small town revitalization and renovation super heroes Erin and Ben Napier are giving a whole town makeover to Wetumpka in a new six-episode series premiering May 2. 

This new show builds on the success of the Napier’s highly popular HGTV show “Home Town,” which ran for five years and chronicled them as they put their heart and soul into renovating and restoring historic homes and businesses in the small town of Laurel, Mississippi. 

“For anyone interested in revitalizing your small town, this 6-episode series is the handbook of what we’ve learned in 10+ years of work in Laurel,” Erin Napier writes on Instagram.

Ben and Erin Napier (Erin Napier/Instagram)

Small town revitalization is their passion and it’s fitting that the Napier’s favorite phrase is “make something good today.”

“It’s too bad that small towns are so often undervalued because you can live a beautiful life in them,” says Erin Napier on HGTV’s site. “People really want to believe in a bright future in the place where they live, but rebuilding a town is no small feat. It takes every member of that community using their gifts and skills coming together to make a difference.”

More than 2,600 small towns submitted thousands of photos and videos to HGTV for a chance to be the first makeover. Wetumpka stood out from the crowd thanks to its community spirit and perseverance. 

Building up downtown Wetumpka has been a focus of the community since 2016 when it was designated as a Main Street Alabama Community. An independent, nonprofit organization, Main Street provides resources and support to help towns revitalize once-bustling downtown business districts. This process was well underway when a tornado hit Wetumpka in January 2019, damaging and destroying multiple buildings in downtown Wetumpka as well as surrounding areas. 

A mural is painted in Wetumpka as part of Home Town Takeover (Jenny Marrs/Instagram)

“Main Street Wetumpka was already doing great things in the downtown district before the Hometown Takeover,” says Mary Helmer, President and State Coordinator Main Street Alabama. “They had already begun the streetscape project with lamp posts being erected and building beautification underway. The show will amplify that. It’s really bringing the community into the limelight. It’s a good fit all around. Everybody has needs, but you also must have the capacity to follow through—it takes good leadership and community engagement. Wetumpka has both!”

Heller expects Wetumpka to see more tourism on the heels of the show—and visitors will not be disappointed in what they find. 

“It’s such a gorgeous area. Everyone is anxious to get things moving post pandemic and we think Wetumpka, thanks to the show’s spotlight, will benefit from more tourism,” Heller says.

In preparation for HGTV inspired visitors, Main Street Wetumpka is opening the doors on “The Tourist Trap,” a converted container unit secured by Main Street Alabama through a USDA grant in 2019. It’s a colorful welcome wagon of sorts with helpful information so people can make the most of their visit to Wetumpka. 

Lynn Weldon, City of Wetumpka Economic Development Director, believes the Tourist Trap will play a big role after the premiere of HGTV’s Home Town Takeover. 

(Main Street Alabama/Contributed)

“We’ve spent months preparing for what we believe to be an increase in visitors from near and far. Having a place like the Tourist Trap for visitors to start their Wetumpka experience is a major plus and will give them a jump start on exploring what we have to offer,” Weldon says of the site.

Change is coming to Wetumpka thanks to “Home Town Takeover” and Erin Napier sums up the moving experience of the transformation.

“In the span of four months last fall and winter, during a global pandemic, five hours from home, [we] gave it our everything to help teach a little town in Alabama everything we’ve learned about small town revitalization in our 13 years of work in Laurel,” Erin Napier writes on Instagram. “We’re sister cities now, examples of what communities who fight for their small towns can do: we will renovate homes, sure. And businesses. And parks. And an entire street. All with the help of our Wetumpka, HGTV and Discovery friends and family. I can’t believe we did it!” 

Be sure to tune in for Wetumpka’s debut on national TV. You can watch the first episode Sunday, May 2, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. It’s also available to stream on discovery+ beginning May 2. 

You can get a sneak peek of the show here.